Or is this considered "noise" on the SE network and should be avoided?

For example, my last question on Academia.SE, I got very candid and useful comments and suggestions from at least four professors. I want to say "thanks, professor X" to each one of them in the comments section. Should I refrain from this and instead just upvote the comments?

  • 16
    Please don't. Instead up vote answers that are helpful and accept the one that best answers your question. I am sure there is something about this somewhere, but cannot find it right now.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 20:48
  • Ok, will do. What if there are plenty of helpful comments, some of which can be turned into answers for me to accept, but none of the commenters have done so? Should I encourage the best commenter to post it as an answer? Or leave that to the moderators to do so?
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 21:38
  • 5
    @user58865 If you see that a comment actually constitute a good answer, you can certainly suggest posting it as an answer. Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 21:41
  • Ok, will do - thanks @MassimoOrtolano :)
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 21:44
  • 3
    Sidenote: A considerable number of users here are not professors (though in your specific case, the commentators may be – I cannot know).
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 5:47
  • Ok, got it - thanks @Wrzlprmft :)
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 14:44
  • 10
    You've posted four 'thanks' comments on this page!
    – Jessica B
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 19:32
  • Hi @JessicaB please see my comment below to J.R.'s answer :)
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


Short thank-you comments are generally frowned upon by the Stack Exchange. The 15-character minimum aims to keep comments substantive.

Some other things to consider:

  • On the main site, only five comments are shown on the page. Adding a "thank-you" comment could push down a more meaningful comment and make it harder to find on the page, like the comment that is hidden here:

enter image description here

  • Moderators get flagged every time a question gets 20 comments or more. So, by using four comments to thank four users, you are using 20% of that quota just to say thank you.

  • I realize this isn't addressing the exact situation as you describe, but I still think the overall philosophy applies:

enter image description here

If you really feel compelled to leave a thank-you comment, I suppose you could so do "responsibly" by saying thank you – but then go back a day or two later and delete those comments. That way, the four professors get notified of your gratitude, but the thread gets tidied up without any moderator intervention, too.

Note also, though, that a busy SE user might prefer to NOT get such a notification in their inbox. It can be a distraction to go check a notification that says nothing more than, Many thanks, J.R. :), with the name and emoticon added just to reach the 15-character minimum. I know I have other things I'd rather be doing.

  • 1
    Awesome answer :). Thanks for going into some detail about the moderator's PoV, too. I'm just afraid that great contributors might stop answering my questions because I come off as "ungrateful" for not thanking them. Saying "thanks" is such a natural reaction in real life - and naturally expected by the ones who are helping - that it's weird to refrain from doing so, just because the interaction is online and not face-to-face. It kind of induces a guilt trip, too - like I am just taking great advice from others, without gratitude...
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 16:21
  • 5
    @user58865 Great contributors to SE understand that the accepted method of showing appreciation here is to upvote good answers, accept the ones that accurately and fully answer your questions, and in general contribute to the site in ways that make it a better resource for others. They won't consider you ungrateful for not explicitly thanking them - in fact, if anything, they might be a little annoyed by you posting a comment just to say thanks, because it shows a lack of respect for the conventions of the site! Granted, this does take a bit of getting used to.
    – David Z
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 22:49
  • 1
    @DavidZ, ok got it. I will keep this in mind for the future - thanks :)
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 0:36
  • @user58865 if they are in chat you can always say "thank you" to them there!
    – gerrit
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:00

A simple "thanks" comment is considered "chatty." A comment that explains why you think an answer is useful, however, would be OK, as it clarifies and furthers the utility of the answer.

  • Ok, will do - thanks :)
    – user58865
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 0:06

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